Reflexology and The Menopause
As someone who is fast approaching her 'Wise Woman' years (hello, nightsweats and hot flashes!) I have a particular interest in helping myself and my clients through the application of Reflexology.
'Menopause' is actually not the correct term to use anyway, as it refers to the moment when menstruation stops. The transition phase, when women experience changes, both physical and emotional, is officially known as the 'climacteric' and it is divided into three phases:
1. Pre-menopause. This occurs usually from age 40 - hormonal changes take place but may not always be noticeable. Some hot flushes might occur.
2. Peri-menopause. This is the phase when ovary function declines - periods become irregular - this is the time when most physical changes are noticed.
3. Post-menopause. From the time of the last period until end of life.
The above descriptions, naturally, may not apply to all women. For myself, I went through an intense period of hot flushes (every 15 minutes) for a couple of months, then nothing at all. I am waiting to see what comes next.....
There are a lot of things women can do to help themselves during this time in their lives. Good nutrition can help reduce the severity of symptoms and regular exercise is one of the best therapies. Not only does it help physically, but the brain releases all those 'feel good' hormones to help on the emotional front.
Regular sessions of Reflexology can help support the menopausal woman physically, emotionally and mentally. Reflexology can help highlight areas of imbalance that need attention. It provides a safe space for relaxation, enabling the recipient to receive and be more self-focused. An empathetic Reflexologist who understands the physical changes a woman is experiencing and takes her problems seriously can go a long way to relieving stress.
A Reflexology session for someone who is experiencing menopausal symptoms should focus on:
Stimulating the endocrine system - the adrenals (v. important in hormone production), pituitary, thyroid and parathyroid etc. Also, the ovaries & uterus, head/brain, pineal gland and lower spine.
Promoting elimination and fluid balance - the liver, kidneys, lymphatic system, colon.
Boosting the immune system -lymphatics, spleen, thymus.
Boosting self-esteem - solar plexus (calming, supporting).
Supporting emotional balance - heart and cardiac area (to release emotional tension)
Relieving Stress - use of relaxation techniques and deep breathing.
Information is essential. The more a woman understands about what is happening to her body, the easier it is to know when things are out of balance and need support.
For myself, I am trying to maintain a positive outlook - my hot flushes are referred to as 'power surges' for instance! Whilst is is not always easy to 'celebrate' the approach of menopause, I do believe that it is within my power to help ease the transition.
Whatever steps you decide tot ake to help you through your own menopause experience, I hope you will consider the role of, and positive benefits of holistic therapies such as massage and Reflexology.